AcupunctureAll things carry the yin while embrace the yang. Neutralizing energy brings them into harmony. Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Dr. Carter has been trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine and 5 Element Acupuncture. Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, is helpful in addressing pain and discomfort, while 5 Element Acupuncture is much more focused on mental, emotional, and spiritual issues.
She sought out specialized training in 5 Element Acupuncture because she believes that the body is an integrated whole and it is impossible to fully separate all levels of our being.
In other words, if you’re in pain, you’re experiencing more than just physical discomfort — there’s mental and emotional stress, too! Fun sidenote: Dr. Carter has seen physical pain fully resolve with just 5 Element treatments. Pretty cool, right?
She has found that her work with 5 Element Acupuncture has a deep and profound impact on her patients, especially those under tons of chronic stress or with PTSD, and incorporates it into every treatment. If you’d like to learn more about the differences between TCM and 5 Element Acupuncture, check out her blog post.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical system that revolves around the idea of qi (pronounced chee), a universal life energy that circulates throughout the body via pathways called meridians. When this energy flows freely, we experience good health. When this energy flow is blocked, pain and illness can result.
Acupuncture uses fine needles, most less than the width of a hair, to stimulate points on the meridians of the body. This action frees the movement of qi and restores normal function and balance to the body.
What does acupuncture feel like?
Acupuncture treatments are generally very relaxing and many people fall asleep on the table. The needles induce changes in the nervous system, causing a more relaxed state. This switch brings deeper and easier breathing, allowing the brain to receive more oxygen and nutrients, and helps to release mood enhancing chemicals like dopamine and serotonin.
Acupuncture has also been shown to have effects on brain waves. During treatment, the brain switches from alpha and beta waves (focused thought and mental chatter respectively) to delta and theta waves (deep sleep and meditation). These relaxation benefits may last up to a week or more, depending on a person’s overall health and stress level.
Needle insertion is quick and gentle, and many people do not feel every needle inserted. A good response to acupuncture occurs when “de qi” is felt, or a deep, heavy, aching sensation, much like a sore muscle. This sensation alerts the patient and practitioner that the needle has accessed the qi and healing is beginning. It is not uncommon for the sensation to wax and wane throughout treatment or for it to move throughout the body and resolve.
The body generally takes 48 hours to fully integrate and adapt to the treatment. It’s a great idea to relax after the treatment, drink lots of water, and rest in order to speed the body’s adaptation period.
What conditions can acupuncture help?
Acupuncture was the primary medical system in China for thousands of years, and as a result it is capable of treating a wide variety of disorders. It has effects on all body systems, including but not limited to, immune, endocrine, nervous, gastrointestinal, respiratory, and musculoskeletal.
Some examples of conditions acupuncture can treat are:
- GI Pathologies (IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s, constipation, acid reflux)
- Musculoskeletal Issues (joint pain, muscle pain, tendonitis, sprains, arthritis)
- Headaches and Migraines
- Meniere’s Disease
- Sciatica, Disc problems
- Post-Stroke symptoms
- Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, and other mood challenges
- Common Cold, Bronchitis, Sinusitis
- Tooth pain
I have never had acupuncture before and wanted to give it a try.
A few years back my girlfriend, Chrissy, and I were dancing and Chrissy stomped on my big left toe. Since then I randomly get horrible stabbing pain in my big left toe. I have had x-rays and seen a foot doctor. He said that I do not have a fracture, but probably nerve damage and that there wasn’t anything he could do and that I would have to live with it.
I haven’t had the pain since December of 2012. AWESOME!!!!
She has also gotten rid of the horrible throbbing headache that would come on while I was exercising and also the numbing pain I would get from exercising as well. I have noticed I am much more calm and do not feel as much anxiety. After most treatments I sleep like a baby for the next few nights. Aaahhhhhh!- Veronica H., Seattle, WA
“Every patient carries her or his own doctor inside.”